Free NBA Picks: Back Tempting 'Over' Odds As Pelicans Visit Thunder

Kevin Stott

Thursday, February 11, 2016 11:53 AM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 11:53 AM GMT

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-2 SU in their L10 games and will be hosting a slumping New Orleans Pelicans. Let's review the NBA odds first!

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Final Score Prediction: Thunder 119 Pelicans 107
NBA Pick: Over 220½ 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The flailing New Orleans Pelicans (19-32 SU, 6-20 Road) head to the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday night to face the Russell Westbrook and the Thunder (39-14 SU, 24-5 Home) in this Western Conference affair and second of three meetings between these teams this NBA Regular Season. These two teams will meet again in exactly two weeks in the final meeting of the Regular Season in New Orleans on Feb. 25 (TNT, 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST). NBA Odds makers here in Las Vegas have opened up this game on Thursday night with the host Thunder as big 11½-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and the game’s Total (Points) set at 220½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).

 

New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans (21-30-0 ATS, 11-15-0 ATS on Road) and Head Coach Alvin Gentry remain stuck in 12th place in the Western Conference heading into play Wednesday—New Orleans hosted the Jazz (NO -2½, 195, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and were 1-5 ATS over their L6 heading into Wednesday night’s game with Utah—and although this team has some real emerging talent and solid enough current starters in C Ömer Asik, PF Anthony Davis (23.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.37 bpg), SF Dante Cunningham and Gs Norris Cole and Bryce Dejean-Jones, and also has Bench players like PF Ryan Anderson (17.1 ppg), PG Jrue Holiday (14.7 ppg), PG Ish Smith (11.8 ppg, 6.6 apg), SF Alonzo Gee and PG Toney Douglas, this team is really limping right now despite the 5-5 SU mark over their L10. The Pelicans (102.3 AF-104.9 AA) have been without starting PG Tyreke Evans (6.6 apg, 1.3 spg) and starting SG Drew Eric Gordon (14.9 ppg) and are a patchwork basketball quilt with some holes in it, no matter how much Chicago-product Davis can do on the hardwood for a big guy. Teams need good Guard play and when your two best Guards are in street clothes and the playmaking and starting SG (Evans) needs surgery and is likely gone for the year, well then all you basically can do is wait and go through the motions. Besides PG Evans (Knee) and SG Gordon (Finger, early March return hopeful) being Out for this game (status Out Indefinitely) for the visiting Pelicans (1000/1 to win NBA title, Sportingbet), SF Quincy Pondexter (Knee) is also gone and has been Out for the Season for New Orleans. Without a healthy Evans running the Offense from the Point, the Pelicans (102.3 PF-104.9 PA) are just not the same team and Postseason basketball—and the .500 mark—seem to be slipping farther away with each game. Teams that are out of it early on tend to give up many points and the Over was 7-2-1 in the L10 Pelicans games heading into Wednesday’s date with the Jazz.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder
In their last game on Monday, the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-30-0 ATS, 14-15-0 ATS at Home) defeated the struggling Phoenix Suns, 122-106, as that prolific duo of Kevin Durant (32 points) and Russell Westbrook (29 points) handed the hosts their 8th straight Loss and 23rd in their last 25 games. Boo-hoo. Thunder starting SG Dion Waiters (15 points), backup PG Cameron Payne (11 points) and backup SG Anthony Morrow were all in double-digits for Head Coach Scott Brooks and Oklahoma City (+950 to win NBA Title, Matchbook) who were a blistering 15-for-33 (45.5%) from the 3-Point line and almost shot 50% from the Field in the Grand Canyon State. With the Thunder now having W8 of their L10 SU, chasing two of the best teams in NBA history, returning Home to the friendly confines of Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City and playing this game with 2 Days of Rest, this seems like a good spot for the hosts, especially with Evans and Gordon out. On the Injury front for Oklahoma City, SG Andre Roberson (Knee) is out and expected to return sometime later this month.

 

Series Trends, Logical Reasoning and Pick
When these two teams met here in the Sooner State in the first meeting this season back in November, the Thunder rolled to a 110-103 victory back as superstar Westbrook (10 apg) led all scorers with 43 points (OKC -12, 212). Trend-wise, in the L10 games in this series, New Orleans is 6-4 ATS—but 5-1 ATS the L6 meetings—while the Over is 5-4-1 and has W3 straight times. But Over players beware, as the opening Total (220½) in this game is 8 points higher than the highest Total in the L10 meetings in this series (212½). This game should be paid at a quick pace, with neither team putting much effort into Defense and at least 50 points scored in every quarter (L10 meetings Average Halftime Score: NO 52.2-OKC 51.0). With the prolific Durant (27.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Westbrook—maybe the best scoring tandem in NBA history—the Thunder (109.9 ppg) may approach and eclipse the 120-point mark here as again, without Evans and Gordon (and with Norris Cole and Bryce Dejean-Jones), the Pelicans just don’t have the backcourt to hang physically with a bigger team like Oklahoma City, which should win the rebounding battle in this one, even with Mr. Everywhere Davis on the floor.

The Thunder are a dominating 24-5 at Home and should roll here, but the way this team plays Defense and has long lapses (always) makes it hard to back OKC at the betting windows. The Golden State Warriors (+12.6 PD) and San Antonio Spurs (+13.5 PD) put an effort into playing Defense and until the mindset of Oklahoma City (+7.9 PD) stops being trying to always outscore opponents and clamp down more on Defense, it will be destined for a 3rd place or worse finish in the competitive Western Conference. The Over seems safer NBA Pick than the side does here, even with an easy anticipated double-digit Thunder win at Home.

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